The Greens party â€“ a fringe party with extremist policies that barely survive the most basic scrutiny â€“ have been able to use their leverage to extract a variety of modest demands from the teetering Gillard Labor government.
With talk around Canberra today that the newly elected Greens party MP Adam Bandtâ€™s girlfriend Claudia Perkins works (or at least worked until recently) for the Prime Minster Julia Gillard in her private office, many Liberals complained of a stitch-up, that they were never in serious consideration by the far-left party.
Perkins is apparently a committed Labor lefty type and no great fan of the Greens party (except for her bloke we assume). Perkins had worked for Gillard since 2009 Â as a ministerial staffer and worked as an advancer in the Prime Ministerâ€™s office upon the Gillard ascension. Acknowledging a potential conflict, she gave up her job after Bandtâ€™s election. Increasingly, these kinds of power couples are going to be a phenomenon of politics so it was interesting to see the lefty dynamic duo take such a traditional approach to the issue.
Some VEXNEWS sources were more surprised that Bandt had a girlfriend at all, assuming him to be gay on the basis of his inner-urban vocal inflection, his loving gazes at supreme leader Bob Brown and admirable collection of jauntily worn scarves.
Of course, Bandt had publicly pledged to support a Labor government prior to the election. It was only after the election that the extreme left put conditions on what had been previously unconditional support.
The need to get the Greens party signed up â€“ and agree to conditions â€“ is understandable at one level. It notionally puts them on an even-level with the Coalition.
But rumours from people well-connected with popular country independent Bob Katter say he was none-too-impressed by just how cosy they looked.
The detail of what Labor has agreed isnâ€™t the end of the world. But the precedent it sets suggests that Labor could end up being the dictated to by an extremist party that hasnâ€™t met a tax or regulation it didnâ€™t like and whose policies make even the most politically inept Socialist Left Labor operative cringe with anxiety. This is a party that advocates the closure of the World Bank, the worldâ€™s largest distributor of welfare to the worldâ€™s poor, the closure of Australian zoos by banning the importation of zoo animals and even pledges to deprive Australians of key medicines that combat thyroid and breast cancer because it demands the closure of the OPAL reactor at Lucas Heights.
Its policies are contradictory. It doom-boosts about carbon emissions and climate change. Yet it adamantly opposes zero-carbon emission energy option nuclear energy on nothing more than ideological grounds.
Cobbling together a majority in the House of Reps in these circumstances isnâ€™t easy and itâ€™s all to easy to criticise from the comfort of the grandstand.
We like the cuteness of the old saying â€˜keep your friends close and your enemies closerâ€™ but we wonder whether many in Laborâ€™s Left clearly recognise that the Greens party is their enemy. They come to destroy Labor (and the Liberals where appropriate) in the inner-city. They wield a strong â€œbrandâ€ (to use the language of the market they abhor) that attracts votes without analysis. They are part of the inner-city lifestyle for many people who ignore the extremist policies on independent schools, private health insurance and new mega-taxes. They put forward mostly dud candidates often with dubious connections to extremist-left groups.
Laborâ€™s unity ticket with the Greens party gives the latter a legitimacy it doesnâ€™t merit, rewards its attacks on Labor and makes it very clear to Labor voters everywhere that it doesnâ€™t matter if you vote Green.
Perhaps Bob Katterâ€™s reaction will teach Labor a lesson it would do well to learn. If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.